An insomniac Scots Calvinist looks at the Church and the world and wonders where it all went wrong

CHANGE AND DECAY

In the church in Scotland there is an objection sure to be repeated whenever change of any kind is mooted, ‘But we’ve always done it that way’. In this we are probably no different from churches elsewhere. The sad truth is that it was ever thus, in fact ‘We’ve always done it this way’.

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The Venerable Myopia Motionless, minister of St Rheumatics on the Knee, laid down his quill. Pushing back the scroll he shook his hoary old head and sighed, ‘Ochone and ochone’. As he ponsdered the state of the church he was forced to recall a line from a beloved hymn in his treasured hymnal Hymns Ancient & Ever So Slightly Less Decrepit, ‘Change and decay in all around I see’.

He could see no end to it all. Young ministers refusing to have a proper tonsure at the front and going in for those new fangled tonsures at the back of the skull. Well, God would have the last laugh, He didn’t create male pattern baldness for nothing.

Myopia had even heard rumours of people wanting to translate the Bible into everyday English. Preposterous, how could the church survive if people actually understood what was going on? If this continued you would end up with people in the pews actually thinking that they could understand the mysteries of the faith themselves.

Why, if that happened and all the obscurity and mystery went the officiating ministers would lose all status and esteem. The common folk in the pews might even want to start thinking for themselves and not bowing the knee to the experts, ministers like himself.

Myopia knew in his bones that once ministers stopped dressing up in cod mediaeval costume they would lose all respect. Folk would think they were just ordinary people when the magic went. What these young whippersnappers forgot is that it’s the clothes that make the man, that’s what earns respect, not the person or the message. A favourite saying of his bishop’s was ‘A dog collar covers a multitude of sins’. Just think of what a cassock and robes could cover up. Well, it worked for him.

He smiled quietly to himself as he recalled the golden age when he was a lad. The old ways were the best. Didn’t these impudent children realise that trying to change things for the better was self-defeating, how can you improve something that is perfect?

I may well have been wrong. It is possible.

At one time I would have said that whilst the USA had its culture war here in the UK there was no such thing. Any such war was was over and we had lost it before we began fighting. All that remains were a few hold-outs waging guerilla campaigns against the establishment elite who control every aspect of UK society. I’m not so sure now.

From the ’60’s onward we experienced a takeover of society by the same standardised outlook. ‘Progressive’ values are daily pumped into our homes by the media, print and broadcast. These are also the views of the major political parties who hold to only slightly nuanced versions of the same cultural ideology. The mainstream Christian denominations, despite real theological differences, articulate and practice the same progressive responses to social and moral ills.

In last week’s by-elections in Clacton and in Heywood and Middleton the main parties met with a mighty shock. UKIP won Clacton from the Conservatives and in Heywood and Middleton Labour just scraped home with a majority of 617. Both seats had previously been considered safe. Whilst considering most of UKIP’s programme to be vacuous, weak in analysis and short of detail it is heartening to see the establishment shocked into reality.

The insiders set the pace, established the parameters of debate and created the atmosphere. In these two by-elections the people, for once, said ‘No’.

We have been enmeshed in a monolithic progressive establishment holding everything in its thrall. They seem to live on some distant planet where the everyday concerns of earthlings do not impinge on their gilded lives; or if the hoi polloi are ever heard they are dismissed out of hand. This was perhaps best expressed by ex-Conservative MP Matthew Paris. When commenting on the likelihood of UKIP winning the Clacton by-election he wrote, ‘I’m not arguing that we should be careless of the needs of struggling people and places such as Clacton. But I am arguing – if I am honest – that we should be careless of their opinions.’

The establishment elite hold the people in contempt. We have witnessed in our lifetimes large scale social, economic, aesthetic and moral disruption, and been blithely assured that this is an advance, an improvement, progress. To express dissent was, prior to last week, to find oneself marginalised. When ordinary working people voiced concern about the nature of immigration into the UK they were described as ‘bigots’ by Labour and ‘loonies and nut cases’ by the Conservatives. To the increasingly irrelevant Lib Dems anyone expressing the concerns of ordinary people was racist, homophobic and probably fascist.

The usual term of denigration for UKIP has been ‘populist’. Appealing to the people and expressing their concerns is the ultimate low in the minds of our elites.

Both main parties found out last week that they can no longer rely on the tribal vote. Those who have always voted Conservative or Labour cannot be counted on to vote blue or red no matter who stands, what they promise or who leads the parties. With good reason the people don’t trust the politicians.

It is almost amusing to witness both main parties making sudden reversals in policy direction in order to hold back UKIP. Today Boris Johnson, mayor of London, says, ‘The Conservative Party must tighten up border controls to win back voters from UKIP’. Yet in 2012 in the midst of describing British workers as ‘lazy’ Johnson had called for an amnesty on over-stayers. He also criticised his own Government’s immigration cap with a warning that key firms were becoming increasingly ‘hacked off’ with the restrictions on overseas workers and that any cap was ‘damaging to business’.

Labour for their part are appalled that the working class voters whose allegiance they rely upon are actually deeply concerned about a completely different range of issues from that which exercises the bourgeois elites running Labour. We even found Ed Miliband, the day after the by-elections, shamefacedly admitting, It is not prejudiced to be concerned about immigration‘.

But its not just about immigration, its about society and its direction.

Were the by-elections victories in a UK culture war? It’s doubtful. Is UKIP going to be the standard bearer for a resurgence of social conservatism? I hope not.

What has happened is that those who have found themselves marginalised and dismissed by progressive society have been given encouragement to fight back against the machine. That includes Christians.

Presented with the picture of a declining Church in the midst of a confused culture we are too inclined to despair. We forget that initially the Church grew and flourished in the midst of an antagonistic pagan culture, not too dissimilar in its moral relativism from what we know today. The Church can grow again; and a vibrant, engaged Church is needed by unbelievers as well as believers.

Today’s political disenchantment, even insurrection, is no more than a sign of the disillusionment of many with our culture. The response to it cannot be confined solely to the political, it must go to the heart of the matter.

As people generally become aware of the failures of a secular progressive society we are presented with an opportunity. Our response must avoid either the woolly liberalism which has waffled the Church into dramatic decline, or the aggressive evangelical theocracy which demands submission across the board.

We can, with prayer, trust, hard thought and work, make real a church today which is modelled on the New Testament Church; engaged, creating caring communities, embodying the love of Christ, a Church determined and willing to turn the world the right way up again.

Many Scots are convinced there exists a world-wide conspiracy to deny us our rightful measure of respect and esteem, if not downright adulation. Radar, telephone, adhesive postage stamps, penicillin, television, anesthesia, digestive biscuits, if it was not invented, discovered or stumbled upon by a Scot we think it was not worthwhile inventing, finding or doing. We may not have invented the wheel, but a Scot invented the pneumatic tyre around it.

Admittedly we did invent golf; but be fair, one mistake and the rest of the world never lets us forget about it.

Unfortunately this Scot finds himself in the position of scorning the erection in London of a huge statue to a Scot. Normally this would be considered right and proper. If there is one thing which would improve London immeasurably it is the erection of more public statues of Scots.

St Thomas’ Hospital has decided to erect a ten foot high statue of Jamaican born Scot Mary Seacole. Voted the ‘Greatest Black Briton’ in a BBC poll. Mary Seacole, nee Grant, had a Scottish father and three Scottish grandparents. This means she would have more right to play for Scotland than many present members of our rugby and football squads. Given their performances perhaps she would have been an improvement. Mary was proud of her Scottish heritage,’I am a Creole, and have good Scots blood coursing through my veins. My father was a soldier of an old Scottish family.’

Mary Seacole, Scottish Businesswoman

Mary Seacole, Scottish Businesswoman

Unfortunately Mary is being used as a political weapon by the progressive media establishment. Who runs the BBC , ITV and other arms of the media is more important than who runs the Conservative or Labour parties. Political parties adjust our taxes, the media shapes our perceptions.

Seacole is touted as a symbol of heroic black endeavour being ground down, slighted and ignored by a racist establishment. There are many British blacks whose achievements have been airbrushed out of history because of their race. Mary Seacole is not one of them.

An out and out capitalist, Mary came to Britain, not to pursue a nursing career but to look after her gold investments, ‘My share in the Palmyra Mine speculation’. This clearly is not something to endear her to the cultural fascisti who determine what is right to think and say. She was a good, decent person who ran a restaurant/bar/takeaway for officers during the Crimean War. In her memoir ‘Wonderful Adventures of Mrs Seacole in Many Lands’ Seacole described her ‘British Hotel’ as a ‘mess-table and comfortable quarters for sick and convalescent officers’. In her memoir she gives entire chapters to her meals and catering.

Mary never formally applied for a nursing post. She did make personal approaches, sometimes to the wrong people. Possibly she was refused because of her heritage, but there is no evidence she was. Apart from starting to apply after the first two batches of nurses had already gone to Crimea she was old for nursing, lacked hospital experience and didn’t submit the documents required of others.

Although mainly concerned with serving officers lobsters and champagne Seacole did help ordinary soldiers. When she first arrived and her restaurant was yet to open she served hot tea, lemonade and cake to the injured waiting for transport to hospital. She also did some first aid work on three known occasions. In her memoir Seacole admits to ‘lamentable blunders’ and trying remedies that later made her ‘shudder’; she claimed few successes.

The BBC in their ‘Horrible Histories’ children’s series, one of the funniest programmes on television, had a sketch showing Mary being rejected four times by Florence Nightingale because of her race. The simple historical fact is that Seacole and Nightingale met once and in her autobiography Seacole describes it as perfectly cordial. The sketch also appeared on the BBC’s Learning Zone, an educational, online resource for children. Progressives love getting to children in primary school, they can then shape their minds for life.

No primary sources indicate that Mary Seacole was a nursing pioneer frustrated by a racist establisment and then airbrushed from history. Yet the BBC, the British Council, and the entire establishment elite are bent on projecting her as something she wasn’t.

Florence Nightingale, Nursing Pioneer

Florence Nightingale, Nursing Pioneer

This goes in concert with efforts to destroy the reputation of Florence Nightingale who did nurse in the Crimea and who did work tirelessly at home to reform hospitals and establish nursing as a profession. Nightingale, a steely determined, authoritarian, self-disciplined Protestant did not display the values preached by progressives, she had to be displaced. The vehicle chosen was Mary Seacole, a good natured hotelier with a knowledge of herbal healing, who was not white.

Delegates at the 1999 conference of the Health Service union Unison voted overwhelmingly for a motion deeming Florence Nightingale an ‘inappropriate role model’ for modern nursing, as her image ‘represented negative and backward-thinking elements’.

Once history was about the discovery, selection and interpretation of facts. Today history, as so much else, is about image and how that image fits the progressive project. The facts of Seacole’s life are immaterial, it is what she can be made to represent that is important to the progressive. A decent, hard working, enterprising, black businesswoman making her way in the world does not fit in with the project in the same way a downtrodden, abused, rejected, black heroine of care and compassion does.

Consider that even greater icon of progressivism, Che Guevara, the face that launched a million T-shirts. Guevara was a misogynist, racist, incompetent, vicious sociopath. “Hatred is the central element of our struggle!” Guevara raved in his 1966 Message to the Tricontinental Conference in Havana:

“Hatred so violent that it propels a human being beyond his natural limitations, making him a violent and cold-blooded killing machine…We reject any peaceful approach. Violence is inevitable. To establish Socialism rivers of blood must flow… These hyenas [Americans] are fit only for extermination. We must keep our hatred alive and fan it to paroxysm! The victory of Socialism is well worth millions of atomic victims!”

Yet oh so progressive Robert Redford made a film glorifying the man who jailed or exiled most of Cuba’s best writers, poets and independent film-makers while converting Cuba’s press and cinema, at machine-gun point, into propaganda agencies for a Stalinist regime.

Be aware of how progressives operate, and call them on it every time.

Amongst the easy going, tolerant adherents of the religion of peace it has to be admitted that those ‘radical’ Muslims are a bit of a downer. These people actually take the Koran seriously. Thus torture, kidnapping and beheading are considered pretty normal fare for those who refuse to share their allegiance to fun loving, open minded Muhammad.

As we have seen things can get pretty tough for western Christians and Jews who fall into their hands. Things are much much worse for converts from Islam. Followers of Islam everywhere see it as an ‘opt in’ movement with no ‘opt out’ clause; once in you are in forever.

As Meriam Yehya Ibrahim from Sudan found out, even if you have been an Orthodox Christian all your life but your father was a Muslim that makes you one too and, according to all Muslims, there is no opt out possibility. Although now safe in the West Meriam was sentenced to death for the ‘crime’ of leaving an Islam she had never joined.

Meriam Arriving In the USA

          Meriam Arriving In the USA

A sheikh pled with the court at Meriam’s sentencing hearing,  ‘how dangerous a crime like this is to Islam and the Islamic community’. Which is precisely why they try to enforce their intolerant laws, if people were free to commit the ‘crime’ of leaving Islam that would undermine the Islamic power structure which keeps the politico/religious authorities in place. It can be dangerous to leave Islam.

In 2009 a web publisher from Iran, known only as FG, petitioned the Swedish government for political asylum to escape the persecution of the all powerful Iranian government. Sadly asylum wasn’t granted. The Swedish government did not think that publishing material against the Iranian government and being threatened with imprisonment and death was sufficient reason to be given asylum in oh so liberal Sweden.

In 2010 the Iranian took an action placing him beyond the pale in Iran; FG committed the crime of converting to Christianity. Once again he asked the Swedes for asylum, this time with religious persecution added to his plea. In 2011 the Swedish government again denied his request.

Given that under Shari’a law apostacy from Islam is a capital offense and Shari’a courts aren’t noted for their judicial fairness, and since no Islamic regime likes to be criticised for its political doctrine, FG has two pretty strong counts against him.

He then appealed to the Fifth Section of the European Court of Human Rights, no doubt imagining that given his circumstances he had a pretty good case for Sweden’s decision to be overturned. In another of those decisions which make ordinary people shake their heads in disbelief the ECHR found that ‘sending him back to Iran did not violate his right to life since Iranian authorities may have been unaware of his religious conversion.’ The decision further went on to ‘reason’ that FG could probably avoid any danger (by which they mean somehow stay alive) if he kept his faith a ‘private matter’.

At least the ECHR seem to have accepted that there is no doubt that Christian converts in Iran face very real and substantial danger if they are open about their faith.

We can have no idea of the faith, if any, of the members of the Fifth Section of the ECHR. However, anyone with the scantiest knowledge of any faith would know that an integral part of faith, particularly the Christian faith, is being able to worship openly and to discuss faith with others.

Religious freedom, which Muslims have everywhere in the civilised world, means freedom to be open about one’s faith. Meanwhile, FG ‘may’ be safe if he keeps his mouth shut and goes underground.

FG has not given up. The unbelievably naive decision of the Fifth Section has been appealed to the Grand Chamber of the ECHR.

According to Ann Buwalda, Executive Director of Jubilee Campaign which, along with Alliance Defending Freedom, has just been allowed to represent FG, “This case demonstrates the need for countries in Europe to more clearly understand the nature of cases involving converts to Christianity. The grounds given by Sweden for denying asylum to Sweden, failed to take into account internationally recognized standards.”

As ADF Legal Counsel, Paul Coleman said, “The human rights situation for Christians in Iran has been well-documented, and there is little doubt that a Christian convert would face real risk of harm if he is forced to return to his country. Christians should be able to practice their faith openly without fearing for their lives.”

Swedish Muslims Enjoying Freedom Of Expression

Swedish Muslims Enjoying Freedom Of Expression

With a single exception, every chapter of the Qur’an begins with the words Bismillah ar-rahman ar-rahim, “In the name of Allah, the merciful, the compassionate.”

Will we find Sweden’s sizeable Muslim population, who enjoy total freedom of religion, petitioning their government to be merciful and compassionate and allow FG to experience the same freedom of religion in Sweden that they have?

Will they petition the government of Iran, run by their fellow Muslims, to allow FG to experience the same freedom of religion they have in the West?

Or, as is more likely, will we see yet again that for Islam toleration is a one way street, and most dishonourably it’s a street along which our governments and courts are content to walk?

Our western progressives are slightly more cunning than Basil Fawlty. Not a high bar you will agree, but an important one – it enables them to rewrite reality.

We remember the episode of Fawlty Towers where the hotel has a group of German guests. Basil is so terrified of giving offence that he warns all the staff, ‘Don’t mention the war’. Naturally he concentrates so much on this warning that he is soon goose-stepping around the dining room.

Basil 01

Western progressives are so much better. They warn us never to mention Islam in connection with any wrongdoing whatsoever, and they actually manage to do it, despite the reality.

September’s issue of Life and Work, the increasingly feeble denominational magazine of the fast shrinking Church of Scotland, has an article concerning persecuted Christians in Nigeria. Whilst glad that the magazine finds space to mention our suffering brethren the article is disturbing, and not just for what it says about events in Nigeria.

According to Life and Work those who burned houses and churches and killed Christians were ‘militants’.

Militants are trade unionists who call wildcat strikes for better pay and conditions. Militants are environmentalists who destroy GM crops. Militants are animal rights protesters who raid experimental medical laboratories. Murderous gangs who perpetrate atrocities are not ‘militants’ they are bloodthirsty terrorists bent on imposing a vile ideology by the most extreme violence imaginable.

Life and Work never mentions the source of the ‘militancy’ behind these atrocities. Perhaps they were militant vegetarians. Maybe militant aromatherapists. As far as Life and Work is willing to admit those who slaughtered Christians in Nigeria could have been militant morris dancers.

Give Into Our Demands Or We Will Wave Our handkerchiefs At You

Give Into Our Demands Or We Will Wave Our Handkerchiefs At You

Are the editorial staff of Life and Work afraid that if they admit that these atrocities were committed by Islamic terrorists then the good burghers of Brechin, Bathgate and Broxburn will be so inflamed they will immediately start setting fire to the Pakistani convenience store on the corner? Given the demographic of the CofS the members would probably be afraid their zimmer frames would melt in the heat.

Not only do well-meaning politically correct Christians insist on self-censorship. We have theological scholars amongst our leading politicians repeatedly assuring us that the murderous Islamic terrorist group ISIS is not Islamic. The reaction of most of us is simply, ‘The clue is in the name’.

Yvette Cooper, from the Labour front bench, has described ISIS as, ‘a perverted, oppressive ideology that bears no relation to Islam.’

Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond assures us: ‘Isil’s so-called caliphate has no moral legitimacy; it is a regime of torture, arbitrary punishment and murder that goes against the most basic beliefs of Islam.’

David Cameron, has explained: ’What we are witnessing is actually a battle between Islam on the one hand and extremists who want to abuse Islam on the other. These extremists, often funded by fanatics living far away from the battlefields, pervert the Islamic faith as a way of justifying their warped and barbaric ideology.’

Dr. Zuhdi Jasser, founder of the American Islamic Forum for Democracy, disagrees with our home grown Islamic experts. Speaking of the Obama administration’s refusal to recognise the Islamic nature of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria he says:

“Please, if anybody in this administration is listening, stop telling us Muslims what is Islamic. I mean, so he’s saying this is compounding the sin? How about when he shakes and hugs the king of Saudi Arabia for their being custodians of the Holy Mosque and yet they have imprisoned apostates, liberal Muslims. They’re a mysogynistic nation that treats their women as third class citizens. Or the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, or the Islamic Republican of Iran. Hundreds of millions of Muslims running governments all over the world that line their prisons and torture Christians and Jews and Muslims, that’s Islamic? And ISIS came out of thin air? ISIS is a by-product of those ideologies. And to deny it and dismiss it, they’re trying to bury us reformers from having a seat at the table.”

The Reformation of the Christian church came from within, well-meaning Islamic, Buddhist or Zoroastrian political figures didn’t assure Luther, Calvin and the others that they were right and that those stuck in the past weren’t really Christian. If Islam is ever going to be reformed, and it won’t be without massive political dislocation and bloodshed, then their reformation must come from within.

Our progressive elites imagine that if we say nice things about Islam and refuse to mention Islamic intolerance of other religions then Muslims will roll over and become adorable puppies whose tummies we can tickle and take for a romp in the garden. In enabling Islamic theocrats and by not condemning the Wahhabi ideology that underpins the terror groups, western progressives undermine peaceful reform-minded Muslims and delay reformation.

We in the West devoutly hope that Islam will reform, for our own safety if nothing else. But we cannot expect Islam to reform whilst we support and sell arms to regimes like Saudi Arabia which exports the Wahhabi ideology underpinning groups like ISIS and Al Qaida. If we actively support misogynistic, bigoted and sectarian Islamic regimes then we cannot expect Muslims who wish to reform Islam to make any headway. We cannot hope to see reformation in Islam if we in the West refuse to challenge the source of the atrocities being committed daily throughout the world in the name of Allah.

By refusing to confront the vile ideology and those who fund and export it we find ourselves working against the very people who might reform Islam. If we wish to see a separation of mosque and state, if we wish to combat the oppression of women, if we wish to see a peaceable Islam, then we must name and crush the ideology which is the foundation of such evils. The ideology must be undermined, not ignored.

So that’s it. The votes cast and counted, the result announced. Scotland remains in the union. Alex Salmond leader of the independence campaign is resigning as First Minister of Scotland. It’s all over. No. Now the fighting really begins.

Salmond is clearly the most astute politician in Britain today. Although he lost the ultimate vote it has to be acknowledged that he achieved something he would have been glad of at the beginning of the campaign.

He got the wording of the question he wanted; a positive response for independence or a negative response for the union. This shaped the campaign and gave the ‘Yes’ for independence a distinct advantage over the ‘No’ for remaining together.

He had asked for a third option on the ballot, a greater measure of devolution, or devo max. Salmond wanted devo max as he thought it an easier goal, and a major step towards independence. David Cameron thought he had got one over on Salmond when he refused the devo max option. Now that the referendum is over what is Scotland promised? Devo max.

Establishment politicians stayed aloof from the northern squabble, until they panicked in the last month at the surge in the polls for independence, one poll even giving the independence vote a lead. All three party leaders cancelled business down south and rushed north promising the Scots anything we wanted. They were like three drunken Hooray Henrys trying to impress a sceptical barmaid. We could get anything we wanted; tax raising powers, fiscal autonomy, Irn Bru on tap, deep fried heroin, we could have it if only we would stay with them.

What Can We Offer To Get Her To Come Home With Us?

What Can We Offer To Get Her To Come Home With Us?

We voted ‘No’ and it wasn’t because of desperate promises. Neither was it, as the independence campaign asserted, because of scaremongering by banks and big business. Who trusts a banker today? It was because we kept our feet on the ground and were not swayed by the whims of politicians of either side. The ‘No’ vote was despite the politician’s interventions; the dreams of the independence campaign or the fears of the union campaign.

All the Westminster promises, all the enticements were intended to do two things: firstly to retain power, and secondly, and more importantly, an attempt to reconnect with a population who have grown tired of politics as usual.

Top down politics was rejected, whether from Salmond holding out dreams of a millenarian utopia, or Westminster attempting to find technical solutions to a greater political problem. Ordinary people rejected both separation and ever more extravagant promises. It was the people who did what the establishment couldn’t, they thought hard and reacted with sense to hold the union together.

Now it’s England’s turn. Cameron, Miliband and even the duplicitous Clegg made their promises to get the Scots to stay. Now they have to satisfy the justified anger of the English. Why should English taxpayers fund expenditure in Scotland over which their MP’s have no say, whilst Scottish MP’s can make laws applying to England alone? The American colonies broke away with the cry of ‘No taxation without representation’, why not England?

Already the tripartite unionist agreement is breaking up with Labour leader Miliband rejecting Conservative leader Cameron’s proposals for greater devolution for England. Why? Short term political advantage, in that Scottish MP’s give Labour a large tribal representation without which they would have difficulty governing England in future.

Trus Me, I'm A Politician

Trus Me, I’m A Politician

Panicked politicians have screwed things up again. Party leaders made wild promises without thinking of the consequences or even consulting their parties. Now there will be pressure to turn the United Kingdom into a federation of fiercely competing localities. Greater devolution to Wales and Northern Ireland will be demanded. What about the English regions, the Midlands, the North East or South West? We are even hearing serious calls for devo max for English counties and cities.

If we thought we had got rid of back of an envelope political reactions with the departure of Tony Blair we were mistaken. Incredibly complex constitutional readjustments are going to have to be made. Why? Because party leaders panicked and made promises they hadn’t thought through.

Alex Salmond may have lost the referendum, but he ran rings around Westminster. If Alex Salmond is the most adroit politician of our day it is because of his undoubted political intelligence, and also because he was up against pygmies.

People are weird. We do the craziest things, often fall in love with the most unsuitable people.

We can perhaps understand, often through bitter experience, how this can happen to normal, well adjusted people like us, and we know it hurts. But what about when it happens to significant masses of people?

How do we explain the bizarre behaviour of many well meaning, soft hearted liberals and progressives.

Eighty years ago millions of Germans, especially German women, threw flowers and themselves at the feet of one of the vilest men to have lived, Adolph Hitler. In 1953 when Stalin died the commonest reaction was not joyous relief that the vicious monster was dead, but genuine tears of sorrow.

They were brainwashed we respond, inundated with propaganda for years. We are too familiar with the techniques of mass persuasion to be fooled like that. We are sophisticated, educated, discerning people, up to the tricks and whiles of those who would manipulate us.

The aging adolescents of the Left may still idolise such ghastly creatures as the racist, misogynist Che Guevara; or still believe that last century’s greatest mass murderer Mao was misunderstood and had his good side. But we have learned the lessons of history. They may still pine for the days when they marched carrying Viet Cong flags and waved little red books, but we know better.

Yet we find today’s progressive Left marching arm in arm with anti-Semitic militants and pro-jihadis who threaten the destruction of western liberal democracy. Gay solidarity groups come out in support of the speeches of radical Muslim clerics, who if they were back home would not hesitate to stone any homosexual straying across their path. Feminists march alongside men who denigrate women and would put them into burqas and force FGM on them. Strident Socialists argue the case for people who would ban trade unions.

The progressive Left is, and always has been, largely populated with romantics, often of a racist hue.

18th century sentimentalism gave credence to the idea of the noble savage, the man and woman uncorrupted by civilisation with greater and deeper values than those of pressurised Western society. The French of course played a large part in this, though for once we can’t blame Rousseau. It was Cartier and Montaigne who wrote of le bon savauge. For them clearly the Fall had never occurred. If we ignore Scripture we always end up to our eyes in problems.

The English as usual were a wee bit more hard headed, at the same time as some were romanticising man in a state of nature Hobbes was writing of the state of nature being a ‘war of all against all’ in which lives were ‘solitary, poore, nasty, brutish and short’. Hardly rose-tinted but more accurate than the picture painted by the sentimental romantics of American Indians living in peaceful bliss, at one with nature and each other. A view assiduously perpetuated by Hollywood and media in films such as the multi-Oscar winning ‘Dances With Wolves’.

Our modern day romantics share the same sentimental bias. In the sixties wisdom was supposedly to be found in charlatans such as Guru Maharaji and Bhagwan Shree Rajnesh. The ideology which gave birth to the modern world was to be shunned in favour of the ideologies which kept huge swathes of the Third World in poverty, racked by disease and famine, and ruled by corrupt governments. As long as it came from the East and differed from what was known it got a free pass from questioning scrutiny.

Today the romantic revolutionaries give a free pass to the ‘freedom fighters’ of Hamas and Hizbullah, the ‘vibrant multi-cultural’ communities who live in the West whilst rejecting the West, and any expression of anti-Semitic bigotry. It is to such favoured groups that they apply the racism of lower expectations. Expecting lower standards of behaviour and discourse from non-Western ethnic groups and ideologies is deeply racist.

We even find well meaning liberal progressives such as George Monbiot and Prof  Lisa Jardine comparing the young men and women from the West who go to Syria to join in jihad, sometimes with ISIS, with the men and women who travelled to Spain in the thirties to fight Franco. The volunteers with the International Brigades, and others who went to fight Franco, went to support a legitimate government in its struggle against a vicious fascist military junta. Our present day jihadists go to support a vicious fascist military junta in its struggle against established regimes.

Our romantics refuse to learn the lesson of history. In 1979 a coalition consisting of the Iranian Communist Party, the Marxist Fedayeen Organisation, and hardline Islamists led by Ayatollah Khomeini ousted the Shah, killed his functionaries and established a new regime hailed by progressives as a huge step forward. The regime then began to imprison, torture, shoot and hang their one time comrades.

Our sentimental progressive romantics should learn the lesson of history. Love affairs with the unsuitable invariably end badly.

 

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